Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Self-assembly generates more versatile scaffolds for crystal growth

01.09.2004


Self-organizing synthetic molecules originally used for gene therapy may have applications as templates and scaffolds for the production of inorganic materials. Using electrostatic interactions between oppositely charged molecules as the binding force, scientists are learning how to organize these synthetic molecules into more versatile complexes with large and controllable pore sizes.



“By investigating the fundamental design rules for the control of self-assembled supramolecular structures, we can now organize large functional molecules into nanoscopic arrays,” said Gerard Wong, a professor of materials science and engineering and of physics at the University of Illinois. Wong and his colleagues report their latest experimental results in the September issue of the journal Nature Materials.

“We showed that the self-assembly of charged membranes and oppositely charged polymers into structures can be understood in terms of some simple rules,” said Wong, senior author of the paper. “We then applied those rules and demonstrated that we could organize molecules into regular arrays with pore sizes ten times larger than in previous DNA-membrane complexes.”


Early self-assembled DNA-membrane structures consisted of periodic stacks of alternating layers of negatively charged DNA “rods” and positively charged lipid membranes. The pores between the DNA rods could be used to package individual ions, which can in turn be crystallized. This work was published last year by Wong’s group, and was featured as a “Chemistry Highlight of 2003” by Chemical & Engineering News.

But generalizing this idea to larger pores was difficult. In previous work, Wong and colleagues showed that actin, a protein found in muscle cells, also reacts with lipid membranes to create ordered structures. The actin-membrane assemblies, however, consisted of the membrane sandwiched between layers of actin, with little room to house or organize other molecules.

In the latest work, the researchers substituted a rod-shaped virus for the DNA. While having a diameter close to that of actin, the virus has a charge density comparable to DNA. The resulting virus-membrane complexes have pore sizes about 10 times larger than the DNA-membrane complexes, and can be used to hold and organize large functional molecules.

“Even though these supramolecular systems were originally designed for gene therapy, we’ve shown that they can be used as templates for organizing other molecules,” Wong said. “An example would be the biomineralization of inorganic nanocrystals, in a way analogous to bone formation.”

To produce bone, nature uses organic molecules to organize inorganic components that become mineralized through additional chemical reactions. Scientists want to create synthetic molecules that work as nanostructured scaffolds of biomolecules and perform tasks ranging from non-viral gene therapy to biomolecular templating and nanofabrication.

“Ultimately, we would like to have designer molecules that do exactly what we want,” Wong said. “Right now we are still elucidating the rules for making these scaffolds and their interactions with inorganic components. It will take some time to move from fundamental science to supramolecular engineering.”

Co-authors of the paper with Wong are Illinois graduate students Lihua Yang, Hongjun Liang, Thomas Angelini, John Butler and Robert Coridan; and Brown University physics professor Jay Tang. The work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

James E. Kloeppel | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods
19.10.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht NASA team finds noxious ice cloud on saturn's moon titan
19.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>